Marcia* moved into the DASH Cornerstone Program in October of 2015 with her son, Brian*. At first she was both cautious and overwhelmed, she didn’t know what to expect as her experience with housing providers in the past had been largely negative. Before she found DASH, she was at times treated with disrespect or turned away from shelters because she had a young son. For Marcia, splitting up her family was not an option.
After a few weeks living in her one bedroom unit in the Cornerstone Program, she was able to relax, “DASH has a real support staff full of loving people who really care about you and your family.” She reflects on how dedicated her advocate was when she arrived, “she even went to the doctors office with me after the abuse because I was afraid and ashamed to go by myself.”
Marcia’s favorite part of living at DASH has been the support groups and counseling that allows her to reflect on her past relationships and the cycles of abuse that people get caught up in. “When you’re younger it’s “cute” for your boyfriends to be possessive and tell you what to do,” she said, “now I look back and can see the warning signs. I look for them in my relationships and I can see the control and the isolation and say, ‘that’s abuse.’” Sarah also mentions discussing red flags and warning signs with her younger sister to help her understand what a healthy relationship looks like. More than anything, Sarah is determined to get a fresh start on life.
Marcia also spoke about the importance of the services that DASH provides for the children, specifically her son who is an active participant in Children’s Art Group, pet therapy and family movie nights. This is important to Sarah who says that, “at DASH you don’t divide the family, and you have services for the children so they can heal from what they saw as well.”
When asked what makes DASH unique, Marcia didn’t hesitate, “DASH is not just here to house you, they want to support you and help you so you can heal on your own terms.”
*Names have been changed to protect confidentiality